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Unsettled Issues Regarding the Certification of Electric Aircraft

  • Research Report
  • EPR2021007
Published March 26, 2021 by SAE International in United States
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  • English
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The aerospace industry is beginning to grapple with the reality of certifying electric aircraft (EA), signaling the maturing of the field. Many players are ramping up their activities to respond to imminent technical, safety, and regulatory requirements. While there are gaps in EA knowledge as well as the processes for certifying them, some leading standards development organizations (SDOs) such as SAE International, ASTM International, and RTCA—ably supported by representatives from regulatory agencies—are stepping in to address many of these issues.
Of special importance are the new rule changes in the normal category (14 CFR Part 23, Amendment 64) that shift from a prescriptive philosophy to “performance-based rules.” Regarding system knowledge, there has been a trend in the use electrical energy to power systems that have long employed mechanical hydraulics. In the new EA paradigm, these components will be employed at criticality levels not previously witnessed in conventional aircraft, calling for a specific set of certification demands.
Unsettled Issues Regarding the Certification of Electric Aircraft tackles the certification challenges faced by EA manufacturers in both the small (normal) and large (transport) categories, addressing technical, business, and process issues.